Brussels, 03 Mar 2003
Members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed the Commission's communications on the creation of a European Research Area (ERA) and on the 3 per cent of GDP spending target for research at its plenary session on 28 February.
The EESC underlined that, particularly in times of economic slow down, research and development (R&D) should be seen as an investment and not a cost. The committee also stated that the EU's goals of economic growth, employment, sustainable development and high environmental and health standards, can only be achieved through increased knowledge, R&D and innovation.
The communication on the creation of an ERA was welcomed in principle, and members welcomed the progress made thus far in creating an internal market for research. The EESC also emphasised the fundamental importance of adequate researcher mobility for the dissemination of information.
The EESC also adopted a resolution for the Spring European Council claiming that the Lisbon strategy of becoming the world's most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010 'is in trouble'.
The committee therefore recommends 'encouraging business innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurship, including an optimal use of the opportunities offered by the Sixth Framework Programme' as well as 're-launching the single market in key sectors such as the Community patent'.
The resolution also calls for a much stronger commitment towards implementing the Lisbon strategy from all parties: Member States, EU institutions, regional, social partners and civil society.
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